Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Swiss Half Fare Card
- Offers 50% discount to use trains, buses, boats and public transportations in 75 cities.
- Children under 16 travel for free.
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How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes are available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 country combinations for extensive travel on the national rail networks. Going for an extended trip? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering rail travel in 31 different countries.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service, First or Second, selected and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. Do I need to do anything to my train ticket before boarding the train?
A. If you purchased and received a paper train ticket in the mail, there is nothing further you need to do.
If you purchased a print at home e-ticket, be sure to print your ticket before you leave home and keep your train ticket safe and secure. For Italo tickets, just print your Rail Europe email confirmation which includes your unique e-ticket confirmation code(s). This e-ticket confirmation code along with your photo i.d. will be checked when on the Italo train.
If you purchased a print at the station e-ticket, you’ll need to visit a self-service kiosk to print your train ticket (remember, you’ll need the e-ticket confirmation code included on your invoice). When retrieving your e-ticket in France at an SNCF kiosk or in Italy at a Trenitalia kiosk, you will need to “stamp your ticket” (composter votre ticket as French say) prior to boarding the train. Should you have any problems, just ask the conductor of the train to do it for you when you board the train.
Q. Where do I find my booking number?
A. Your unique booking number is located in the confirmation we will email you. If you have created an account, you can also visit your dashboard to see your booking(s).
Please note: this is NOT the number you will use to retrieve your print at the station tickets locally in Europe; please review your invoice for the applicable e-ticket confirmation codes needed to retrieve your tickets.
Q. Are European trains "child friendly"?
A. Many European trains have baby changing facilities and/or family friendly play areas.
Intercités trains in France, some InterCity Swiss trains, InterCity Finnish trains and ICE trains in Germany offer play areas or dedicated compartments for families with children. The Austrian RailJet is even equipped with a movie theater especially for children.
Please note: If traveling on Eurostar, you should not travel in Premier class with children. This area is dedicated to and caters primarily to business travellers.
Q. How can I tell whether or not I have a reserved seat on board?
A. To tell if you have a reservation, first see if you received one or two travel documents for your trip. If you received two travel documents, you probably received an open train ticket and a reservation. The reservation portion will show a train number, car number and seat number assigned to you personally.
If you received only one document, see if it also indicates a seat number and car number. If so, your train ticket includes a reservation.
Q. I’ve bought a print at the station e ticket. What do I need to do before getting on the train?
A. When you book a print at the station e-ticket you will receive a 6 or 8 alpha-numeric e-ticket confirmation code (also known as a PNR or Passenger Name Record) in your Rail Europe confirmation email. Simply print the actual paper ticket from a self-service kiosk at the train station prior to your train’s departure.
For all print at the station e-tickets, you’ll need to print the tickets before boarding your train. Your Rail Europe confirmation email is not a train ticket.
For certain routes where this ticketing method is offered, it’s possible that the kiosk to print out the ticket can only be found in the station of origin but not in the station of arrival. For instance, if you have purchased a roundtrip journey as a print at the station e-ticket, you need to make sure to print out both your outbound and inbound train tickets in the station of origin - as you will not be able to retrieve your inbound ticket (return ticket) in the station of arrival. An example of this is a trip originating in France and going into Italy, or a trip from Paris to Amsterdam.
Q. How do I travel with a print at the station e-ticket?
A. All you need to do is print your actual train ticket at the station using a self-service kiosk prior to boarding the train. You can do this on the day of your travel, or anytime prior – but you can only do this at a train station.
The actual steps to print your e-ticket vary slightly from one country to another, but the general approach is the same: proceed to the self-service kiosk, enter your e-ticket confirmation code (also known as PNR) which is a letter code (or in the UK, 8 character alphanumeric code) that is unique to your trip, and follow the simple on-screen instructions.
Q. Will there be someone to help me find my reserved seat on the train?
A. Generally speaking, train cars and seats are prominently marked. If you have any trouble finding your reserved seat, one of the conductors on the platform or onboard the train will be able to assist you.
Q. Do I need to book a rail pass for everyone in my traveling party, including children and infants?
A. You will need to book a rail pass for each adult and child. In the case of a saver pass, it’s one rail pass with each traveller’s name listed on the pass. Some rail passes offer free child discounts, the children need to be added to the rail pass at the time of booking, there will be no charge incurred for them, however. While a child under 4 years of age and sharing a seat with an adult does not need to book a rail pass. If the child will occupy his/her own seat, a rail pass must be purchased for them, as well as a reservation when needed.
Q. Where can I see the exchange and refund conditions of my train ticket?
A. When browsing fares on our website, you can read a brief description of each fare flexibility level, and then see the full exchange and refund conditions for each fare.
Once you have booked a train ticket with us, its exchange and refund rules will be indicated in your Rail Europe booking confirmation email, as well as printed with your train ticket and/or on the ticket jacket in the case of paper tickets. Please note that train tickets must be received for exchange or refund within the allowed time frame mentioned in the exchange and refund conditions.
Q. Will the conductor take my passport?
A. Conductors will not take your passport during day trips. If your passport does need to be checked, the local border control staff will simply walk through each train car checking each passengers travel documents and hand them back to you.
With overnight trips you’ll generally provide the train attendant with your reservation voucher, rail pass or train ticket, and passport as you board. That way, they can take care of everything with conductors and customs officials so you can sleep uninterrupted through the night.